Beth Bowen grew up in Fresno knowing that one day she wanted to head to Los Angeles to find a career in acting. Because of twists and turns of her personal life, time in front of the camera was put on hold until now. She was cast in the new Bravo series “There Goes the Motherhood.”
Bowen, 36, joins other Los Angeles-area moms Jen Bush, Meghan Conroy-Resich, Stefanie Fair, Leah Forester and Alisa Starler as they participate in the most in-demand mommy group run by parenting expert Jill Spivack. The series blends the mommy group sessions with examination of the women at home.
In Bowen’s case, the main thing to come out of the group sessions was how to talk to her young children about her divorce from the man who was the chief reason she stepped away from acting.
Bowen landed a few small acting roles after moving to Los Angeles. Her life took a dramatic turn when she married a man who didn’t want her to act. Instead, she focused on motherhood. She has four children.
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“I agreed to stop acting. But it was always in the back of my mind, what would have happened if I had stuck with it,” Bowen says. “I really missed it.”
Last year, Bowen realized that her marriage wasn’t working. Once the divorce process started, she started looking for acting work again. There was no response for acting roles, but she did get contacted by a variety of reality programs from “Big Brother” to “The Amazing Race.”
She had a small part on the reality show “Candidly Nicole,” where she met Spivack. The parenting expert liked what Bowen had done on the Nicole Richie reality show and suggested she would be great for “Motherhood.”
Once Bowen signed on to the show, her life became an open book. The divorce is a big part of the story, but only in general terms. Specific talk about her ex-husband is off-limits.
Talking about the divorce has helped Bowen.
“I was separated. I needed to know how to deal with co-parenting. How should I speak to my kids about their father not being in the house,” Bowen says.
And, this was all going from living a lavish lifestyle to dealing with being a single mom on a reduced income.
Now that the filming is complete, Bowen’s a little concerned the series doesn’t completely show her true nature – a product of trying to edit together the stories of so many characters. She stresses that there are far more layers to her as a person and mom than what comes through in one season of the series.
Bowen would have liked to have had more time with the other members of the group before the cameras started rolling.
“I never had problems with women in my hometown. I don’t fight with my friends. We all get along,” Bowen says. “It’s definitely a surreal experience when women are angry with you because they misheard you or don’t understand you or aren’t trying to understand you.”
I don’t think there was a great effort by the women to be my friend. It was difficult in the beginning because they didn’t get to see me for who I was.
The show also includes her four children. Bowen’s happy with the depiction of her children, shown as average, happy youngsters. She’s convinced her children became more comfortable with the camera crews being around than she did.
Before becoming a reality show star, Bowen’s most intense connection to parenting came from her father, Brook Bowen, a heating and air conditioning contractor, and her mom, Judy, who helped with the business.
Bowen fell in love with acting at age 12, when a Tenaya Middle School teacher, Kathy Robinson, selected Bowen to be part of the school’s improvisational team.
“It was because of the improv team that I fell in love with acting and wanted to move to L.A.,” Bowen says. “I begged my mom to take me to Los Angeles to audition, but she was the furthest thing from a stage mom and wouldn’t take me.”
At Bullard High School, Bowen was class president, cheerleader and homecoming princess along with being on the soccer and diving teams. As soon as she graduated, Bowen used that background to jump into acting and modeling opportunities in television, film, commercials and print campaigns.
She got her Screen Actors Guild card through a role on “The Jamie Foxx Show,” where she had one line – and it was edited out.
Bowen, who’s walking proof 30 is the new 20, also has a passion for health and wellness and wants inspire others to make their health and fitness a priority. From her current home in Rancho Palos Verdes, Bowen has decided to kick her wellness career into full force.
On “There Goes the Motherhood,” Bowen definitely takes the center spotlight, from a head-turning appearance in a yellow bikini to rapping to a verbal assault on her by the other moms. All of that attention could make Bowen’s interest in health and fitness important with talk of a spinoff series for Bowen.
No matter what happens, she has finally accomplished the dream of being on TV that was such a driving force when she was growing up in Fresno. It’s not exact, but it’s close.
“I never thought in a million years I would be on a reality show. In my mind, in fantasy world, I thought I’d be up for acting jobs with Meryl Streep,” Bowen says. “But the line’s gone now between the acting and reality worlds, and I think a lot of wonderful opportunities can come from this. Right now I feel like I’m in a good place.”
There Goes the Motherhood
- 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, Bravo